BIS Seminar: Alan Dennis
Combating Fake News on Social Media
Fake news on social media has received much media attention and many experts believe it influenced the 2016 US Presidential election and the 2016 Brexit vote. More than 60% of Americans consume news on social media, and 84% believe they can detect fake news. But can they? We studied the ability of experienced social media users to detect fake news, and how seeing news headlines – both real and fake – influenced their cognition. Only 18% of subjects could detect fake news better than chance; 82% of users could have made better judgments by flipping a coin. We found that confirmation bias dominates, with users essentially unable to distinguish real news from fake news, and that cognition is driven by how well a news headline aligns with the user’s prior political beliefs.
We conducted a series of studies examining different ways in which the social media user interface could be designed, including how news headlines are presented, flagged as being fake, and how quality ratings are derived. These different interface designs had different effects on the extent to which users believed social media stories, and how likely they were to read, like, comment on and share the stories.
I hold the John T. Chambers Chair of Internet Systems in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. The chair was established in honor of John Chambers, the CEO of Cisco Systems, Inc., the leading developer of networking technology.
My research focuses on teams, designing technology for the subconscious, Neuro IS, and the Internet. I have written more than 100 research papers, and have won numerous awards for theoretical and applied research. I am Vice President of Conferences for the Association for Information Systems. I was named a Fellow of the AIS in 2012.
My teaching focuses on business analytics, research methods, and data communications and networking. I have written four books, two on data communications and networking, and two on systems analysis and design.
I have developed several software systems and technology start-ups over the years. My current focus is on using big data and analytics to help parents select baby names NameInsights.